tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)June 30, 2013

What are you doing to save your plants, especially tender ones, in this hellish heat? How are you watering? Shading? Anybody know where to find those little grass 'shades' you can use outdoors? I need several and can't find 'em anywhere. :(

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GeeS 9b

One word: Aluminet -- a type of shade cloth that doesn't get hot, so you can lay it directly on plants

It really isn't that bad out, at least in my neck of the woods. Oh, it's hot as hell, but it's hazy and kinda cloudy, so sun scorch isn't as big an issue as I was expecting.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 3:17PM
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I'm using a wide piece of frost cloth draped over lawn chairs arranged in my squash/melon bed for shade when they start wilting and it's working really well. I remove it in the evening so the bees will find the blooms in the morning. I also shaded a bush bean bed except for about 4 ft. but removed it completely this morning as the exposed plants suffered no apparent ill effects from the blast we took yesterday. My peppers are under shade cloth too, everything else has to fend for itself. I do have more okra just coming up and the small seedlings don't seem affected.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 4:43PM
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I've seen Aluminet advertised in that Farm/ greenhouse catalog but I've never used it. I'm thinking about using regular aluminum window screen on wood frames (at least for higher light plants.) The sun can't burn up aluminum like it can polyester.

Triage is right- geez.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 10:02PM
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GeeS 9b

It's pricey, but worth it to me. It's no better or worse than any shade cloth for many applications, but I wouldn't try this with anything else.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 11:41PM
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I'm against artificial life support (mostly) so I'm planting trees and shrubs for shade.

Still, I'm experiencing my share of failures, even with plants that are supposed to survive zone 9/10 heat.

On the other hand, I've also got plants that are doing surprisingly well, like the volunteer Roma tomato plant that came from Outer Space and is thriving in full sun with 1x week watering.

The ones that don't make it are replaced for a second try. If I can't keep them alive a second time they simply don't get invited back!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 12:54PM
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Juttah, I wouldn't rely on the USDA hardiness zones (9/10) to help you decide heat tolerance. All it tells you is cold tolerance. That's why I think the Sunset zones are much more useful in the west USA.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 1:26PM
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So true! I've learned to ignore the "heat-loving" and "drought-tolerant" descriptors on the plant tags. Around here, many of those so-called "tough" plants can only survive with daily watering in the shade.

If this global warming thing continues, cold-hardiness zones may become a quaint relic from the past....

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 3:35PM
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I'm having the same issues. The thing I find interesting is my small Jujubes seem to be the toughest of the lot. Looking at them , you would never expect it.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 9:08PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Fun discussion! Thanks for sharing about the Aluminet, it's neat. Where do you get such a thing??

Like several others have mentioned, I utterly refuse to cover plants in summer so it's thrive or die, hah, and some do both! Each year some of my largest Agave americanas and some Notocactus plants get quite a bit of yellowing in summer (bleaching more than sunburn) but happily they turn back to regular color in autumn.

Fun to see this discussion, thanks for sharing about your methods for shading your plants, I learned something new.

Happy gardening,

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 10:20AM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

Grant, I do a bit of both, do-or-die and save-this-plant. I have become more sensible about what I plant as I've found some will die no matter what and some are troopers. I have no tomatoes and few flowers at this time. I just get tired of 'renting' colorful posies that have been coddled somewhere in California and will gasp and die in this heat. I've got eggplant, okra, peppers, a watermelon, sweet potatoes, blackeye peas, basil, a couple of peanuts (an experiment) and some pretty ornamental SP's. All are doing well right now, but I confess, many are in shade. The pepper bed has tall sunflowers in the middle and a big green umbrella on the west side. Ever so often, wild peachface lovebirds visit the sunflowers. Just a bonus!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 1:06PM
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GeeS 9b

I'll cover plants for two reasons. First, I may choose to plant a greenhouse-grown Agave out in full sun when it's hot. I could wait until late autumn to give it a chance, or I can lay some 50% Aluminet over it for a few days at a time in a simulated cloud cover scheme. It's a temporary measure just to get it going, no different than watering new plants in. Another reason might be as a stopgap measure in response to a previously reliable shade source being lost. Monsoons happen.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 1:14PM
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Missred1(11-13 Sunset)

Even with shade, my periwinkles are crispy (they have lasted 3 years on my patio) My star jasmine are droopy, even lantana look withered. I have too many plants to use shade cover, and the heavy clay soil promises root rot if we over-water. On the other hand, moss roses and texas sage look great!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 5:10PM
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I don't cover anything. With 1/2 acre and everything is spread all over the place it would be expensive. The roses look like heck and the rosemary is burnt on top. my new lilac has burnt leaves, calla lilies have a permanent droop even the sun flowers are suffering.
The tomatoes look great along with the peppers, eggplant, grapes and squash.
So you take what you got and work with it. I know in Oct. the stuff that looks bad now will start looking great and the stuff that looks good now will be dead. Happens every year.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 6:13PM
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Speaking of roses, campv, mine too are looking like heck (the ones I planted in the ground.) I'm so disappointed and frustrated for their failure, I can't tell you. I'm going to rip them out so they don't remind me everyday. Ahrrrgg!! I'm not a novice, beginner gardener either! My roses in big pots are ok, though.

My 5 yr old Florida prince peach tree recently bit the dust (and not for lack of effort on my part either.)

Right now, all I'm proud of is my thick Tiff lawn and my moss roses. But overall, I'm discouraged and need some cheering up from other low desert gardeners...

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 2:30PM
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My "Dolly Parton" rose bush is doing pretty great for the second summer. The leaf cutter bees (and other solitary bees) agree---which is for whom it was planted a few feet away from their nests. But interestingly the heat has made the blossoms change from enormous showy things to a rose to pale pink small blooms (a parental form? due to the heat altering gene expression?).

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 5:53PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

My roses look like hell and those that dare to put out 'blooms' are just as you describe, itty bitty things with few petals. I chalk it up to the heat; it takes too much energy to make a big bloom. I go out and cut the little things before they fry and make nosegay bouquets. Makes me a tiny bit cheerier. I have a tree rose in a big half barrel and it is not doing well at all. How are you keeping your container roses going?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 9:32PM
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Very cool that you have wild love birds that visit Tomatofreak. My agave was getting bleached too. I moved to shade and it is recovering.

I know there are some succulents that go dormant in the summer and they get killed if you water them in the summer. Does anyone know which ones because I forgot.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 1:33AM
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tomato, I have my potted roses partially shaded by my backyard live oak tree. Like you, I don't expect any blooms this time of year. I just want them to survive the oven season.

One rose that seems unfazed by the heat is my Laura Bush floribunda (orange/blend color.) I'd definitely recommend that variety. Altisimo climber also seems very tough.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 11:04PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

I should check the tags on my roses; it's evident that some are just frying while others still appear quite green. Wonder why the difference?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 12:51AM
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I wonder, myself! I faced facts two days ago and pulled up and threw away four of my sickly dead roses planted in the ground in January. I'm trying not to let these challenges get the best of me. As they say- live and learn.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 5:03PM
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